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Types of Email Sends & Why SFMC Journey Builder is the Future

Types of Email Sends & Why SFMC Journey Builder is the Future

Marketers around the world are innovating and constantly looking for new means & ways to target the right audience with the right content. Markete...

Marketers around the world are innovating and constantly looking for new means & ways to target the right audience with the right content. Marketers use data from various channels like email, SMS, social media, websites, etc. to target the customers via various types of email campaigns. While these channels have emerged in the recent past, especially the social media channels, email is still fundamental amongst all of them and it is the most reliable means for communication when it comes to engaging with the customers. 

As per studies done by DMA [The Direct Marketing Association UK ] in 2018, ROI [Return on Investment] for an email comes to a staggering ~4200%. This means a pound spend on any type of email marketing campaign fetches back approx 42 pounds worth of value to the marketers.

The above ROI makes perfect sense as email marketing helps in reaching out to the customers after making a purchase and convincing them to make repeat purchases. Getting sales from an existing customer is easier than getting it from a new customer. 

Salesforce offers two platforms for the marketer:

Salesforce marketing cloud – This is a marketing automation platform dedicated to catering to the B2C customers. This platform has the features to reach out to customers on various channels like Email, SMS, Social media marketing, Paid ad, Websites, Mobile apps, etc.

Pardot – This is another marketing automation platform utilized for B2B consumers and can be used to target customers via email marketing along with other features. 

In the next section, we will talk about the Salesforce marketing cloud’s email marketing features available for marketers. It will help you to target your customers effectively with minimum investment of money and time.

There are various ways of performing email marketing within Salesforce marketing cloud and we will uncover all of them here, along with their use cases. 

Email studio 

Email studio has the following features for sending emails:

1. Single email send:

This feature is the simplest way to send emails from the Email studio. This involves creating a fresh email or opening an existing email and then performing the following steps to send the email to the intended audience.

  • Define the properties of the email like the subject, preheader, send classifications
  • Select the data extension/list for the target audience along with Excluded and Suppressed lists
  • Select the deployment schedule i.e. to send email now or in the future 
  • Finally, review the email template & its associated configurations and send the email

2. Triggered email send:

This email delivery mechanism is used to send an email as a response [trigger] to an activity done by the user e.g. email confirmation to customers on making a purchase or sending a password reset email to the customer who clicked on the password reset link.

There are 2 parts involved when it comes to configuring the triggered email send. This activity is done under Email studio–>Interactions–>Triggered emails.

  • Create a new triggered email with the following configurations:

– Fill the Name, External key and the definition is Description

– Configure Send Classification

– Campaign Association [if any]

– Select the relevant email message from the Content builder

– Add appropriate Subject line & pre header line

– Select the audiences by choosing the relevant Data extensions or list 

– Select the relevant suppression and Exclusion list

– Save the triggered email definition 

  • Triggering the email definition via APIs  

The above configured triggered definition is called via an API call from outside Salesforce marketing cloud or from cloud pages within the Salesforce marketing cloud.

The code should have one important parameter i.e. using the external key mentioned in the above definition of the triggered email in the API code to identify the exact definition to be triggered. 

3. User-initiated Send

This email send is under email studio and is used in the scenarios when we want to send the manual emails on one or more occasions. This is a perfect use case for scenarios like monthly newsletter or seasonal promotions.

User-initiated emails can be created by visiting Email studio–>Interactions–>User Initiated.

– Create a definition of the email sent by following the below steps: 

– Create a name and description of the email definition 

– Choose the relevant email content from the content builder

– Enter the subject line and preheader line

– Select the send classifications of the definition i.e. commercial or transactional 

– Select the targeted list, Suppressed list, Excluded list for the definition 

– Select the test audience for testing purposes

– Once done, save the definition 

After that, the user can choose to send the email immediately or on a future date.

The final step is to call the above email send from Automation studio via email send activity.

Journey builder 

Journey Builder tool is used to visualize & draw the customer journey on the Salesforce marketing cloud platform. This is a really powerful tool as compared to Email studio for email sends. 

Journey builder has the following 2 features to send an email:

1. Single send journey 

This is a relatively new feature in Journey builder, which helps the marketer or email marketing agencies to send the email once or in a scheduled manner. 

Journey builder Single send can be used by following features 

Journey builder–>Create new journey–>Single send journey.

User has to select the following three things in order to create a Single send journey

  • Data Extension – Select the relevant data extension used for the email send and filter the contact based on the options available.  
  • Email content –  Select the relevant email template from the content builder or you can create an email from this window itself.

    Configure setting -Message Configuration like Send Classification, subject pre-header 

    Configure the Delivery Options like Publication List, Suppression List etc.
  • Schedule -Schedule the Single send for immediate send or for a future date 

Save the Single send journey 

2. Multi-step journey 

This is another way to trigger email sends. It is a more powerful feature within Journey builder and can be assumed as a superset of the Single send journey. 

We shall discuss this in another article, soon.


As mentioned in the above sections, we have multiple options to send the email via the platform but we would recommend using Journey builder’s Single send over the Email studio’s User-initiated email send feature.

However, the above recommendation should be viewed in the context of use cases and should be considered as a guideline only. 

  • Latest & upcoming features – Since the Journey builder is the future on the Salesforce marketing cloud platform for the customer-specific journey, a Single send journey will have more new features in the upcoming releases rather than the Email studio. Hopefully, we might get Einstein updates on this feature as well.
  • Consolidation of email sends – Marketers are preferring to use Journey builder’s capabilities, as it is easier and powerful to use. Hence it will be convenient to create and manage all the email sends at one place instead of multiple places. 
  • Simple & intuitive interface – Journey builder’s Single send provides a simple and configurable interface to configure the journey. This makes the Single send easier to adopt by the marketers as compared to Email studio
  • Validation – Marketers and marketing agencies can validate the single email send, after saving it. The interface provides user-friendly error messages which help marketers to create email sends. 
  • Journey Analytics – Emails can be tracked by using the rich UI  dashboards on the Salesforce Journey builder and can be tracked on the same journey. This provides consolidation of viewing journey analytics at a single place, which in turn increases adoption.   

Wrap up

Email send is an important aspect for the marketers or email marketing agencies, and Salesforce Marketing cloud provides multiple options to avail the objective.  

Depending on the use case, the appropriate feature can be utilized but based on the above facts, we can conclude that using Journey builder’s Single send feature to send emails is the recommended choice. This is evident for manual/ one-timer emails like newsletters, seasonal emailers, etc. Also, Salesforce Journey builder provides the ready-made Salesforce email templates to be used by marketers for quick journey deployment.

For a more detailed analysis of the Journey builder Single send, please refer to the Trailhead modules.

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Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices.

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